Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
July 2019
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Lake Waikaremoana hike, day 3

The rain that arrived yesterday afternoon continued overnight and into the morning. I always find it a bit depressing to hear the sound of rain on the roof when I wake up the morning (not that I’d actually slept very well—the sand-fly bites were still doing their midnight itch-and-overheat-my-feet thing), because you know it’s going to put a dampener on things (pun intended … except that it probably isn’t actually a pun, it’s just the literal version of what is often used metaphorically (sorry, I’m really just explaining that to myself!)). It was time to dress up in all our best rain gear (you know, the stuff you carry because you hope that, by carrying it, you guarantee you won’t need it), and parade our wet weather fashions to all and sundry. Then, suitably attired to handle the steady downpour, we trudged off into the grey gloom. It really was one of those trudgy days, where everything is just a little more awkward than usual and, although everything is still pretty, you kind of just want to get to where you’re going. The challenge of negotiating the track with its squelchy mud sections and frequent tendency to become a creek bed added interest to the trudge, but although there is the mental exercise of picking an optimal route (and the physical exercise of actually negotiating it, and the occasional embarrassment of finding that the anticipated secure footing swallows your foot in an ankle deep concoction of mud, water, and leaf litter) there comes a point where you (I!) just say “Fergedit” and plough straight through, boot cleanliness notwithstanding.

The track continued to follow the shoreline, but rose up quite high on the slopes and was narrow and awkward in places, as it searched for a reasonable route along the contours and into and out of the gullies through which streams tumbled. Three hours after setting off (and having encountered a few less well-equipped/organised people heading the other way) we stopped for lunch, where it was nice to offload the pack. The others in our group decided to continue directly to our next overnight stop, but Sally and I decided we would like to detour along the track to Korokoro Falls, which we hoped would be spectacular as a result of all the rain. Well, we have no idea if they were or not, but the river coming from there certainly was. As you may be able to see in the last photo (and shown in the separate page of additional photos), the track to the falls actually crosses this river—with a cable to cling to, which you can just make out slung between the orange arrow on the near side, and the faintly visible orange arrow on the far side—but the amount of water made it impossible to cross. It was still a worthwhile 2km diversion, and Sally and I enjoyed the beautiful rainforest and seeing the force of the river.

The rain was easing by this stage, and had all but stopped by the time we reached Waiopaoa Hut. A NZ member of one of the other parties staying at the hut pointed out a kereru (large native pigeon) feeding in a nearby tree, and it was great to watch it for a while. I took some photos, but they didn’t turn out all that well because my zoom lens really wasn’t powerful enough.  The rain seemed to have kept away quite a few hikers which meant that the hut wasn’t very full, although it was still crowded around the stove with all the boots and socks drying out in readiness for tomorrow (there are few things more unpleasant than trying to put on cold damp socks and boots in the morning (well, actually, there are probably millions of things more unpleasant, but not right at the moment you are actually doing it!)). With the smell of steaming socks as background ambience while the evening light faded we again turned to card games for entertainment. As someone who plays only rarely I had a crash course in the rules and terminology of “Rickety Kate”, but it certainly provided an opportunity for some applied probability theory!

More photos of the day’s wet wanderings are here.


1 comment to Lake Waikaremoana hike, day 3

  • Linda

    Brings back memories of my only bushwalking experience – Lake St Clair in Grade 10. Poured with rain, my glasses fogged up on the first day and stayed that way all trip, and I fell into every pool, pond, creek or other waterway possible.

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